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The Slow Digitalization of Law Firms

In the last few years, society, businesses, and some public organizations have experimented with a digital revolution without precedent. However, law offices, traditionally analog, have held themselves back from the crest of this wave. Despite the catalyzing role of the pandemic, the digitalization of law offices has not occurred. The advances introduced are circumscribed in two ways: remote communication (videocalls) and an increase in working in the cloud.

If digitalization were an exam, the law sector would have passed… but only by a few points. Following the report “X-Ray of the digital transformation in offices”, through the Spanish newspaper El Confidencial and the consultor Alterwork, the average level of digital maturity of the offices is stunted at 5.1 (out of 10). Therefore, law offices are very far from a true, fundamental transformation, while many clients demand a service with high levels of quality, with constant and rapid attention.

The report, thoroughly done through an analysis of half a million Spanish signatures, which serve as a thermometer testing the situation in its whole, reject that the office size is a determining factor in any of the dimensions studied – digital presence, innovation, client experience, processes, business model, technology and culture, and leadership—but differences do indeed exist in favor of offices located in large cities, such as Madrid and Barcelona.

In Latin American we encounter similarities. In Columbia, for example, the businesses and projects of Legaltech concentrate in the capital, Bogotá, according to the portal LegalTechies. In Mexico, according to Sondeo (Poll) Tech in Law, elaborated by Reuters, more than half of the judicial services professionals were a bit or not at all familiar with the LegalTech tools for legal practice.

Janet Huerta, the director of Abogado Digital (Digital Lawyer) launched a hub of legal innovation in Latinoamericano Legal (Latin American Legal) in the beginning of February. The main reason why the judicial organizations don´t finish a digital transformation process is because of the lack of knowledge about the existing technologies and the benefits which can be obtained with their implementation.

There are no excuses to continue to further postpone the blueprint leading to a digital transformation. “The implementation of a good strategy from Legal Tech demands a change in the mentality of judicial teams, and focused training. The lawyers should know that a multitude of services in the market exist, which can facilitate the day to day and reinforce client relations. They should also know how it works. This doesn’t mean that they should become developers; the technology is already there. They simply need to know where to apply it” states Clara Piloto, director of MIT Professional Education Global Progams.

Fortunately for the academic institution of MIT Professional Education (USA), in collaboration with Esade (Spain), these institutions will impart the Professional Certificate in Legal Tech in the Digital Age. This is a 13-month program, available in both English and Spanish, which prepares professionals in the legal sector for the reality that is already here, although many offices continue without reaching these ranks.

The Certificate in Legal Tech in the Digital Era would serve to contain some of the most worrying dimensions that are signaled in the report from El Confidencial and Alterwork. For example, stating that a third of the poll participants did not know the agile methodologies for work, nor had launched any new products or services in the last three months. On the other hand, 65 percent of the law firms take great care not to count on a digital transformation plan.

“The digitalization is creating a richer and more agile legal sector, with new methods for attending to services and incorporating tools focused on efficiency. Due to this fact, it is fundamental that the lawyers are trained in Legal Tech because, on the contrary, they will not be able to offer what their clients demand in this digital age, which is marked by speed, personalized service, and transparency”, declares Eugenia Navarro, professor in the Legal Tech in the Digital Era Certificate, TamaProjects associate director, and associate professor in the Law Department of Esade.

Thank you to the knowledge of MIT Professional Education (USA) and of Esade (Spain), leaders in their respective fields, technology and law, this Professional Certificate prepares participants with the necessary knowledge so that they can absorb the fundamental concepts of Cloud Computing and DevOps, in order to develop a critical willpower to choose which technologies can be beneficial and to transform traditional law firms into competitive offices across various legal areas. The future of the legal sector begins here. If you would like more information about the Professional Certificate in Legal Tech in the Digital Era, click here.

Clara Piloto – Director of Global Programs, Director of Digital Plus Programs, MIT Professional Education.

Read the full article (published in Spanish) from The Lawyer Magazine here:

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